The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the official removal of the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern (AOC) from a list of heavily polluted sites located within the Great Lakes basin.
A total of 43 AOCs were originally identified in the U.S. and Canada in the 1980s, primarily due to legacy contamination and degraded habitat dating back over many decades.
The completion of all necessary remedial and restoration work and the subsequent removal of six “Beneficial Use Impairments,” i.e., specific types of environmental degradation occuring in the Lower Menominee River AOC, enabled the removal or “delisting” of the Lower Menominee River from the list of remaining AOCs.
The Lower Menominee River was designated an AOC because contaminated river sediment and degraded habitat impaired public benefits such as fish consumption, healthy fisheries, uncontaminated shipping channels, and wildlife habitat.
The bulk of the AOC includes the lower three miles of the Menominee River, which separates the Cities of Marinette, Wis., and Menominee, Mich.
The AOC also extends north and south of the river mouth along the shoreline of Green Bay.
To achieve the delisting, project partners implemented over $170 million worth of sediment remediation and habitat restoration work which was accomplished through a combination of federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, matching state, local, and private funding, and through government regulatory actions.